US trade tsar warns scrapping TPP carries ‘serious costs’
US Trade Representative Michael Froman warned of “serious” strategic and economic costs from scrapping a major trans-Pacific trade deal Friday, as proponents lobbied hard to overcome president-elect Donald Trump’s opposition. Acknowledging that the fate of the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, or TPP, is now largely out of the Obama administration’s hands, Froman indicated he would continue to make the case that the deal is good for America.
“We are obviously at a point in time where this is a legislative process to get TPP through and it’s really up to the Congressional leadership to determine if, when and how it’s going to move forward,” he said. “It’s a political decision for them to make.”
“Our argument is that inaction poses serious costs” he added, citing a recent study suggesting failure would cost the US economy around $94 billion in the first year alone. Trade deals such as TPP and the 1993 North American Free Trade Agreement featured heavily in the brutal US election campaign and many see Trump’s victory as a repudiation of ever-deeper commercial ties. Neither Trump nor his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton supported TPP during the campaign. Free-trade supporters say the deals were made a scapegoat for the social and economic disruptions caused by automation and other far more potent trends. — AFP